UPDATED at 1:09 p.m.
Troopers have arrested a state social worker on suspicion of using a former client’s food stamps to buy food.
The 44-year-old Graham woman works in a state Department of Social and Health Services office in Pierce County, the department reported. She has been booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of four counts of unlawful redemption of food stamps, which is a felony.
The News Tribune is not naming the woman because she has not yet been charged with a crime.
The woman, who has been on alternative assignment during the course of the investigation, has worked for DSHS since 1998. She’s served as a financial services specialist since 2003.
The former DSHS client contacted the Pierce North Community Service Office in April after he received a notice to recertify his benefits.
The request was puzzling since he thought the account was closed. He told workers he had turned in his Electronic Benefit Transfer card and asked that it be closed in September 2010, the department reported.
Investigators found that $3,225 in basic food benefits had been issued to the account from September 2010 through February, DSHS reported.
DSHS asked the Washington State Patrol to investigate.
The department identified the suspected employee by viewing store surveillance tapes and reviewing receipts for the EBT card.